Cornerstone Credentials: The Diplomats
The Diplomats built their brand of New York-hardened hip-hop in the early 2000s with a slew of rising producers, including then-breakout beatsmiths Just Blaze and The Heatmakerz.

But now that the Harlem brothers are banded together again, the four-man collective of Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and Freekey Zekey is looking out left for inspiration in legendary West Coast rap architect Dr. Dre. Only time will tell what the results will be, but the process has been unlike anything Dipset has experienced before.

"He definitely made me rap my verse like 33 times," Jones told us this past week about working with the good doctor. "It was cool. It was a great experience."

Cam'ron also experienced Dre's penchant for perfectionism: "He made me get out and do my verse over," he recalled. "He's real intricate. Basically, he was like, 'I want this kind of flow,' and he'll mumble it out," the slick-witted MC continued, explaining the process. "It was like, 'Yo, go do that again; it's terrible.' "

Dre came to work with the crew through the urging of Interscope/Geffen/A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine. According to the rumor mill, Dipset might ink with Iovine's Interscope Records soon. The crew confirmed they met with Iovine and company during their appearance on "RapFix Live." Jones called their chances of joining the Interscope roster "Lou Ferrigno strong."

In the meantime, they're continuing to record and moving on to the next set of producers. Moving forward, however, they're unlikely to repeat the experience they had with Dre.

Jones likened process to something from his younger years. "Humbling is the word," he said of working with The Chronic star. "He made you pronounce your syllables right. It was like school in there. It's like real rap school when you're in the booth with him. You either feel like you're getting better or a student."

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